EPA Spill Costs Could Run to $30 Billion

EPA spill Colorado
Brent Lewis / Denver Post via Getty Images

The spill of three million gallons of toxic waste water into Colorado, New Mexico and Utah continues as a black eye for the Environmental Protection Agency this week.

Though EPA investigators claim that the cloud of mercury and lead-laced water has cleared downstream, an independent audit points to the residual sediment along the riverbed that could have lasting effects for years if not addressed.

Using methodology from the EPA’s own estimations in previous clean-ups, the independent American Action Forum is projecting that clean-up of the riverbed could cost taxpayers as much as $30 billion in a worst-case scenario.

Though it conceded that costs could run merely into the hundreds of millions, the full extent of the clean-up requirements may not be known for months and completion of remediation plans could take years or even decades.